Shopping local is such fun at Sequoia Downtown! Not only is the shop locally owned, so many of the products are also locally sourced, with most others being Canadian, and you can be sure every item was chosen with its impact on the environment in mind. I’m thrilled to be sharing some of my favourite items to gift from the store; it’s my go-to place for picking up holiday gifts, Valentine’s Day ideas, and end-of-year teacher goodies, as well as great items for baby showers!
Please understand: I partnered with Sequoia Downtown to create this guide. I was compensated for my time and for sharing with you lovely folks, but I jumped at the opportunity to showcase what the store has to offer because I do truly enjoy shopping there and believe that you, the readers of Pickle Planet, are interesting in shopping local and supporting locally-owned and operated business. Spending our money on locally-created items in a locally-owned shop is just one of the many ways we all can work together to create stronger, healthier, more connected communities. I’d also like you to know that I have purchased nearly every item I’m about to highlight; the ones I haven’t bought or used before are on my ‘someday’ list.
Spending time in the Sequoia Downtown shop with owner Danielle, manager Julie, and Holistic Nutritionist Joanne was a highlight of my holiday shopping this year and I’m sure you’ll feel the same warm vibe when you enter the doors. They know their products, they respect their customers, and they love what they do. Stop by any time of the year; you’ll feel that magic, too!
DID YOU KNOW? Sequoia is a locally-created created franchise, with the original shop having opened in 2004. There are currently three Sequoia stores in the Greater Moncton Area, sharing a website and various marketing promotions.
Here are a few of my top choices for gifts you can purchase at Sequoia Downtown (some of the photos were snapped at Danielle’s other location, Sequoia Dieppe, but are available at both stores). Feel free to chime in with your favourite gifts to purchase in the comments, too!
I grew up with two teachers, including one who taught early elementary students. I know exactly what it looks like when nearly two dozen little people shower you with gifts – which is why I try to always opt for a hand-drawn/written card from the kids with either a gift card and/or consumable goods. I figure even if the teacher doesn’t eat or use the goodies we purchase, they can easily share in the staff room, with their families, or pass them along.
I also now have a much better understanding of how difficult it can be to put a healthy, hearty meal on the table for the family when you’ve been dealing with the demands of little hands all day, so meal options for teachers have moved way up on my gifting list! I’ve taste-tested pretty much every Juno’s Whole Food Soup mixes that Sequoia Downtown carries, as well as some of the Maya’s Kitchen Meal Kits (and I’ll be trying more, based on what we’ve eaten so far!). These are both stellar options for gifts, in my opinion!
I love the idea of gifting these mixes to teachers, bus drivers, postal workers, and anyone else who eats, really! These hit the $10 and under price point and make a full meal for a family (or a meal and two lunches for one person). These also go on the list for best gifts to hand to a new parent, by the way! (We have a few more of those coming up, too.)
NOTE: I know it can be iffy gifting food if you’re not sure of a person’s dietary concerns and restrictions, but kits like these can be easily passed on if they don’t meet the person’s needs. Plus, given that Juno’s soup mixes are almost all vegan and only require water to make, they are a safe option for many folks!
Another gift that can sometimes be on the iffy list for gifting if you don’t know the person well enough is smelly things, like soaps and candles. BUT, Sequoia has options that are great for this, too!
Rosemary Wellness Soap is a go-to teacher gift in our house, because we know it’s made locally, with botanical and essential oils; the soaps are vegan, all natural, with no synthetics, and palm free. This year we created a little gift basket theme around their Snowman Snuggles soap, adding in Schoolhouse shortbreads (100% gluten-free, decorated on the packaging to look like snowmen), Éclair Lips Snowman Snuggles lip balm, snowman-themed PUR aspartame-free gum, and the most important part – a handwritten note from the kids! (Every item but the card can be picked up at Sequoia Downtown.)
Another great option for teachers are reusable snack and lunch containers; I’ve had a few teachers ask where our kids’ zippered snack bags come from! Read up on them in the ‘Zero-Waste Gifts’ section below.
You might also want to gift the teacher in your life a lovely Danica Studio water bottle. Priced at $25 and coming in a beautiful gift container, these would make anyone smile! The bottles can keep something cold for up to 24 hours or something hot for up to 12 hours, with nine amazing styles to choose from. I’m kind of regretting not gifting myself one!
BABY SHOWER GIFTS
When our daughter was born seven years ago, I was gifted Olivier My Baby soap and it’s still one of my favourites! I love that it’s a New Brunswick product and it worked very well for us on baby’s skin. It’s one of the many awesome baby items you can pick up at Sequoia Downtown, along with this Carina Organics shampoo. Every new parent also needs wipes, wipes, and more wipes! (Reusable are great, but sometimes when you’re on the go a little package like this is a life-saver!)
A new favourite of mine is anything by Anointment! If you don’t know the face behind this Sackville-based business, take a few moments to get to know April and admire her business savvy and her personal stories. (Many, many years ago I made the trek to her previous store to purchase our first cloth diapers before Little Miss Pickle arrived!) Sequoia Downtown has a fantastic selection of Anointment products (they’re on my go-to list for gifts for him, too!), but I’m putting forward their gift bundles as the perfect baby shower gift. The Postpartum Recovery Kit is scent-free and cruelty-free and includes a perineum balm, nipple butter, and postpartum bath herbs, while the Baby Skin Care kit features baby balm, calendula soap, baby oil, and an organic cotton soap scrubbie. The packaging on these products is incredible and makes them ready to gift immediately!
While I was at the shop, another customer pointed out the Santevia bath tub filters, which would also make an incredible gift for expecting parents (especially at $24.99). Santevia offers a mineral filtration system that aims to reduce things like chlorine, heavy metals, and chemicals from water, which should help prevent dry skin, a common concern with little ones. I’m seriously considering picking up a shower head filter on my next trip to Sequoia Downtown!
GOOD TO KNOW: For little ones with allergies, Sequoia Downtown is a great place to come searching for treats like Advent calendars, Easter goodies, and more. There are always lots of chocolatey options that are gluten/dairy/soy free, vegetarian and vegan. They also have healthier options for treats like gummy bears in bulk and locally-made KETO chocolates from Adorable! If you have any sensitivities in your family’s diet, be sure to come in and talk to the staff about what treats they can help you enjoy. No one should miss out on advent calendars or Easter treats because of an allergy!
And for the mamas & papas to be, don’t forget the soup and meal mixes, as well as protein balls and bars! The BEST gifts when our kids were little where filling snacks I could eat with one hand and meals I didn’t have to think about. Five and seven years later, these are some of the gifts that stand out most in my memory!
The perfect add-on to any gift: a reusable straw!
Sequoia Downtown has a great selection of various styles; my vote is the rainbow ‘bendy straw’! These are a hot buy this year, with many more people talking about the impact of single-use plastics and other items. (There’s even a collapsible version – how cool is that? Kids and tinker types will love this, plus you’ll know it’s great for the environment!)
If you’re looking for more than just a straw, Lily Pads has created a great little gift set of reusable utensils! There’s a bamboo fork and spoon, stainless steel straw and cleaning brush, all tucked into a lovely organic canvas bag.
Remember those snack bags we mentioned? Awesome for teachers, co-workers, and more! Pair one with a ECOlunchbox and Bees Louise reusable beeswax wrap for an awesome gift that can keep on giving every lunch hour!
Sequoia Downtown also offers a great variety of products you can purchase in bulk in your own reusable containers. My vote: the chocolate toffee pistachios are incredible! (I ate them too soon to take a photo for you; whoops!)
GIFTS FOR HIM
Whether he’s a tea-totaler (yes, I know that’s not exactly the term!), a coffee connoisseur, a kombucha fan, or a water guy, you can find a great drink-related gift at Sequoia Downtown!
We’ve been sipping on some Fairtrade, organic, locally-roasted Sunny Brae coffee lately and it’s lovely! (You might have seen it featured in our 12 Days of Local Gifting Christmas Gift Guide; we went with Humphrey, a medium-dark Vienna roast.)
Love waking up with a cup of locally-roasted coffee; a great gift for any java lover on your list!
Some of the toughest names on my gift list are often my brothers-in-law. They pretty much all enjoy a little tipple now and then, so an alcoholic gift is usually a safe bet. But if you’re like me, you don’t love giving ‘just’ a nice bottle of their favourite drink. Here’s where Sequoia Downtown comes to the rescue again! I’m giving Walter’s craft caser mix (about $8/bottle) with some New Brunswick-made vodka for the perfect pairing. Consumable and Canadian!
A staple on my shopping list for Papa Pickle is shower gel from Walton Wood Farm. I quite love The Gentleman: citrus and mahogany scents, vegan and cruelty-free, no dyes, parabens, or SLS. It’s made with essential oils and aloe, and doubles as a shampoo.
There are lots of options for keeping him groomed and looking good, too! Beard balms and oils, shaving bars, and skin creams are all great presents any time of the year. Again, Anointment comes through with a fabulous gift package all ready for gifting: 50ml of beard oil, Woodland Sage soap, and a hand-printed handkerchief, all boxed up and waiting for you!
GIFTS FOR HER
One of my favourite ‘me moments’ is to savour the few minutes I take to use a wonderful facial scrub and feel the softness of my skin afterwards. It’s magic! I’m so excited to use the Vanilla Coffee Scrub from Moncton’s own KOFFEE Organics that I picked up as a gift for myself at Sequoia Downtown. I mean, coffee pretty much runs through my veins at this point, why not use it on my skin, too?!
One of the first chemical-heavy products I started to replace in my life was nail polish. It’s not something I use often, but when I do, I’m so glad to know I’m using something that isn’t filled with terrible things for me and my family! MOOV is a Canadian company with North American-made formulas that are free from tolune, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resins, dibutyl phthalate, camphor, parabens, and xylene, vegan, and cruelty-free. I love the colours, too! This is a great pick-me-up for a BFF, a fashion-forward tween, or yourself, of course!
A lovely pair of earrings can bring such a burst of fun to your day – so why not gift a beautiful pair from Studs Astray! These locally hand-crafted earrings are hypoallergenic, lightweight, one of a kind, and totally affordable.
There are so many clean-eating, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, and likely any other non/free label you need options available at Sequoia Downtown, it’s a perfect spot to shop! Most of the food items are also in lovely packaging perfect for gifting ‘as is’ or adding to a gift for a little tasty flair! Here are a few stand outs on my gifting list:
A few years ago I started become aware that not all salt is created equal. For most of my first four decades on this planet, I pretty much thought there was road salt and table salt. Now, I know better. Salt is not created equal and any foodie on your list will love a treat of Cape Breton Luxury Sea Salt from the Wild Grocer! (Okay, okay, I’m biased, anything Cape Breton will always make my list, but I’m confident this will be a hit with everyone.)
PURE Infused Maple offers so many fabulous-sounding syrups infused with the best flavours – a great way to add a little flair to family breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert! I opted for the gift pack with five 50ml bottles featuring a vanilla, cinnamon, star anise flavour suggested for using over ice cream, which sounds incredible! There’s also a lavender & chai flavour suggested for lattes, a cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves maple syrup to pair with pancakes, a chipotle & lemongrass infused version for flavouring meat, and a fantastic-sounding maple gastrique maple syrup, ginger, & apple cider vinegar for use in salad dressings and more. YUM!
And I’m wrapping up the gift list with my new favourite: Posh Nosh Spice Blends! (If you’re at the store on the right day, you’ll even get to chat with the maker, Joanne, who works at Sequoia Downtown!) Everyone told me to try to the Maple Curry and they weren’t wrong (I sprinkled it on some mixed nuts and roasted them in the oven – yum!); I also picked up the Berbere Bounty blend for our home and it’s been a hit, too!
These all-natural spice blends are a great treat for any foodie who loves to experiment in the kitchen, as well as a great idea for busy folks who want to make dinner taste like a five-star effort without slaving over anything more than opening a package and shaking it on some meat, fish, pasta, or veggies!
I hope you enjoyed ‘shopping’ at Sequoia Downtown with me! It’s such a wonderful shop to have at our fingertips; I honestly believe you’ll find inspiration for anyone on your gift list – and if you’re feeling overwhelmed or a little unsure, just ask the staff in store! They have great taste and understand which products suit which types of people; they’ll be happy to help you out. Look for their in-store displays, too; I love that they dedicated a huge display to local products this holiday season! It helped to narrow down the choices sometimes.
Thanks so much for joining me on this virtual trip to Sequoia Downtown! It was such fun to work with the team at the store to help showcase all the amazing local and eco-friendly gift options they have on site. You can see many of the items mentioned featured in this video, too!